November 10, 2014

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18 Ways To Double Your Gift Power

Imagine...
next time you buy a gift -  your money goes to changing, maybe even saving a life ...instead of contributing to a corporate CEO's multi-million dollar salary!
Here we list 18 gift ideas that make a big positive impact out there in the world in addition to putting that smile of delight on your loved one's face.

1 Fair Trade

A sweatshop-free alternative to mass produced goods. There are many beautiful hand-made fair trade objects to choose from: fashion, table linens, home decor, accessories, jewelry, food, coffee, flowers. Check out Fair Trade Federation, World Fair Trade Organization, Fair Trade Canada for the list of fair trade shops and online retailers.

2 Crowdfund a Cool Idea 

We found some terrific cutting edge gift ideas on crowdfunding sites - a smart carry-on that can be tracked with your phone;  a smart wallet that's almost impossible to lose; TrackR - device, so you never lose your keys, or your phone and can always find your car in any parking lot ( Indiegogo); wearable art; clever fashion accessories (Kickstarter) - your gift will not only be unique, but will support innovators and budding entrepreneurs. 

3 Ethical Chocolate  

There are over one million children working on cocoa farms in Ghana and Ivory Coast, in dangerous conditions, in the worst form of child labor.  When you buy chocolate from Ethical chocolate companies - your sweet treat is that much sweeter knowing that you support the end of child labor.  
Ethical Chocolate Companies

 

4 Educate Girls with Social Gem Ethical Jewelry 

A true 'statement jewelry' - and a big social R.O.I. (return on investment). Educating girls is one of the most effective ways to eradicate poverty, increase GDP of developing countries and double their social capital. Social Gem commits to educating girls all the way to university. And it's 'direct-impact'; when you buy a piece of Social Gem Ethical Jewelry, you can track the progress of the student who directly benefits from your purchase. 

5 Membership to a Museum or a Zoo

Family memberships are a much better deal than individual ones.  The whole family can have a wonderful outing and at the same time support cultural institution in your city.

6 TOMS Marketplace

Much more than shoes, TOMS Marketplace offers wonderful array of ethical gifts for women, men, kids, home + bath, paper goods... All are life-changing and address multitude of social ills.

MeToWe 

is a for-profit social enterprise founded in 2008 by Canadian brothers Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger that provides socially responsible products and services and donates half of its profits to the charity Free the Children.  MeToWe.com

Shop With Meaning 

is chock-full of great gift ideas from several companies pursuing social enterprise one-for-one giving business model. From health and beauty to socks - you just might find something for everyone on your list! ShopWithMeaning.com

Buy from a Local Artist 

Supporting local artists goes a long way to creating a vibrant cultural life on our planet. Visit local marketplaces, many open just for the holiday season, and discover their rich, unique offerings.

10 Daily Deal Sites

I know, I know what you're thinking! How does that change lives? But we're talking doubling your gift power, and some offerings on daily deal sites can make great gifts. For example you can buy a spa experience for a friendand for yourself, do it together, et voila - double gift! 

11 FIGS Threads For Threads

Is there a doctor in the crowd? On your list? This wonderful organization sells good looking scrubs and supports medical professionals in impoverished areas of the world. Many are poorly compensated for their work and dedication. Your gift is sure to make a big difference. Figs

12 Warby Parker

Give a gift of sight. Their very stylish eyeglasses and sunglasses will do the most discerning fashionista proud. Not least because for every pair they sell, a pair is donated to someone in need. Such a little thing as eyeglasses we take for granted! Imagine not being able to see because a pair of glasses is out of reach for a lot of people in impoverished countries. warbyparker.com

13 TheNakedHippie 

An edgy t-shirt company that invests 100% of it's profits into micro loans that help people in developing countries supportthemselves and their families by starting or growing small businesses.

14 Freeset 

Freeset helps stop human trafficking through sale of jute bags and t-shirts. Every woman who finds freedom through Freeset also brings freedom to her family. Many lives are saved through Freeset's humanitarian work. 

15 Fair Trade Coffee  

Almost everyone loves coffee. And the beauty of fair trade coffee is that it makes an enormous difference for thousands of coffee farmers in many countries. Many fair trade coffee brands are sold in local supermarkets. Here are some certified fair trade coffee companies:

16 Smile Squared 

It may be the most basic thing but a toothbrush makes a big difference in the life of a child who doesn't have one. And not just any toothbrush! Smile Squared toothbrushes are made from bamboo and feature advanced design, complete with antibacterial bristles using Nanosilver technology. For every toothbrush sold Smile Squared donates one to a child in need. The impact of oral hygiene on overall health of the child cannot be underestimated.  It's a great and affordable gift idea.

17 Global Girlfriend 

Global Girlfriend has amazing variety of gift ideas, all supporting women and girls through various projects and organizations. Operated by CharityUSA.com. Definitely worth a visit. 
 

18 Car Share Membership 

is a great gift (if available in your city). With Car2go, Zipcar, Autoshare and many others you can get a car for an hour or three, at a short notice, at many different locations throughout your city. It's a hugely green way to replace car ownership for city dwellers, thus benefitting not only the giftee, but our planet, as well.
 

Can you add to this list?  

What will you #givewithmeaning this giving season?  Please tell us in comments below and we'll spread the word.

6 Things You Can Do To #BringBackOurGirls

 

276 girl students were kidnapped in Nigeria on April 14th, eight more on May 6th.

Whether you are a mother or not, you cannot help but feel the deep pain of the mothers of the kidnapped girls. It is a parent’s worst nightmare come true.

If you are shell-shocked and a little numb at this continuing tragedy, you are not alone. It is an unspeakably horrific story. 

We demand action, but our voices are tainted with resignation.. The reality is that in much of the world women and girls are not worth very much. 

Yet there is much that we can do:

1 Speak your mind

The worst case scenario is that the novelty will wear off and the whole thing will be forgotten. Ten years ago the story of thirty girls abducted by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army endured rape and torture before being returned to their families was written by Susan Minot in her book “Thirty Girls”. The outrage against the kidnappers flares up in social media, but not for very long. It’s up to us to not let this be forgotten again.

2  Use social media.

Follow #BringBackOurGirls on Twitter and your local BringBackOurGirls group on Facebook - they are springing up everywhere.  If there isn’t one in your city – create it.

3  Sign a petition.

Yes, petitions do work. Change.org and the White House.gov site's a We The People petition, "Bring Home Girls" are two of the most popular ones.

4  Talk to your kids.

If they’re old enough to be on Facebook they will see the news and you won’t know the extent of what crosses their screen and how it might affect them.  Better to explain to them in an age-appropriate language and share your feelings.

5  See the big picture.

The reality is, that in much of the world, women and girls are not worth very much. This is not an isolated incident, a freak tragedy. The lives of millions of women are undervalued, especially in the developing world. Follow Because I Am A Girl, Girl Rising, The Girl Effect, Social Gem and other organizations that work to improve girls’ lives on Twitter and Facebook. We’re all in this together, let’s stick together.

6  We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.- Dr. Loretta Scott

Vote with your choices.  Buy fair trade – because it helps women and children who otherwise might end up working in dangerous conditions in sweatshops and dodgy factories. Support organizations that work to educate and empower girls. Many have excellent programs for volunteering, sponsoring children overseas, and even connecting personally with schoolgirls in developing countries. 

They are not a faceless crowd, these are girls with names and real lives. The missing girls: Christy Yahi. Saratu Markus. Maryam Abbabukar. Blessing Abana. Comfort John. Halima Gambo. Talata Damian. Pindar Nuhu. Amina Ali. The list goes on and on.

Sarah Zabu Wala, 18, is one of the missing. She wants to be a doctor because of the poor maternal health care, says her family. Sarah has three other cousins who are also missing.  Deboraoh Andrawus hoped to go into law. Rebecca Ibrahim, 17, wants to be a nurse, and 19-year-old Baby Dauda a teacher. 

The Price Of A Girl

$12 is the price of a girl in Nigeria... according to the video posted online by Boko Haram, the terrorist organization that kidnapped the girls.

The question of the girls’ worth is not new.  In Indonesia we face it every time a girl does not go to school, because her parents can’t afford to pay school fees for all or any of their children.  And school is NOT FREE in many countries.  

"Last week we were called to a poor village by a local teacher. She wanted us to visit a family needing help. When we met the family, we learned that there are 6 daughters and 1 son. The first daughter is already married, the second working after dropping out of school, the third living with relatives. With three young daughters at home and one boy, we were still really surprised to learn that the family was only interested in our help with the son’s education. The teacher explained that, in Indonesia, the girls leave home when they marry and the boys stay with the family and look after the aging parents. Of course, we know this is the way it works in many poor countries. But it was a fierce reminder of the realities of life here, and how large the mission to improve the lives of girls really is. It's obvious that these are very loving parents. It's just a different reality, and one we want to change. Education is for everyone.”

There is a Chinese curse that says, “May you live in interesting times”. We do. Our challenges are huge, we face setbacks and tragedies, but we are strong, we are creating solutions, not crying in our coffee.  

We are mompreneurs and sociopreneurs, we are mothers and daughters, and we believe that while you cannot help everybody, everyone can help somebody.  So that’s what we do, one girl at a time.

 

Social Gem is a 20 year old fair trade social business with a mission to educate girls in the developing world, a member of Fair Trade Federation and Green America. Our beautiful ethical, fair trade accessories and jewelry are 'human-made' by women artisans in Indonesia.

 

 

 

 

April 25, 2014

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The Best Job In The World

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have the Best Job Ever in The Whole Wide World?

What would it be for you?

Would it be working only when you're pumped up and energized? 

Not ever having to drag yourself to do something you'd rather not be doing?

Feeling warmly satisfied, like you've done something amazing, at the end of each day?

Waking up with fresh ideas, excited to put them into action, or at least to share them?

Could it be being anywhere in the world and not worry about getting back to work, because you are at work wherever you are and that's exactly where you want to be?

Making friends and connecting with people who are passionate about exactly the same things you are passionate about?

What would you be doing if you didn't need the money?

And what if you were actually making money doing it?

 

If you're not there yet, we need to talk about it. 

Because it's not impossible, in fact it is so possible, and so real that thousands of people are doing it. Is it time to meet few of them and learn their secrets? 

 

                                                                                                                         

 

 

April 07, 2014

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What's A Girl Worth?

"Last week we were called to a poor village by a local teacher. She wanted us to visit a family needing help. When we met the family, we learned that there are 6 daughters and 1 son. The first daughter is already married, the second working after dropping out of school, the third living with relatives. With three young daughters at home and one boy, we were still really surprised to learn that the family was only interested in our help with the son.

The teacher explained that, in Indonesia, the girls leave home when they marry and the boys stay with the family and look after the aging parents. Of course we know this is the way it works in many poor countries. But it was a fierce reminder of the realities of life here, and how large the mission to improve the lives of girls really is.
It's obvious that these are very loving parents. It's just a different reality, and one we want to change. Education is for everyone."

So, WHAT'S A GIRL WORTH?

A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult